Definition - What does Protected Class mean?
A protected class is a group of people granted legal protection from discrimination, prejudice and retaliation. This protection can come in the form of legislation passed by the lawmaking branch of government. Or, it can come through official precedent and jurisprudence developed by a government’s judicial branch.
Governmental actions affecting a protected class are often reviewed with scrutiny.
Justipedia explains Protected Class
Through the history of democracy, it has become clear that certain historically oppressed and marginalized groups deserve legal safeguards as a protected class. The representative process often leaves minority groups vulnerable to discrimination because they lack the numbers to wield the political power necessary to protect themselves. Over the years, governments have found it necessary to build in safeguards for these classes. These protections are granted on the basis of nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexuality and race.
Protected class status affects employment law, government administration law, criminal law and constitutional law.